3 Ways That 1:1 Marketing Will Disrupt Holiday 2017

What do marketers have in common with kids at Christmas? What do marketers have in common with kids at Christmas?

For one, we’re inexorably drawn to the latest hot thing. For the kids, there’s always a must-have new toy, like Hatchimals or fidget spinners. And for marketers, it’s usually the latest tech trend, like chatbots or augmented reality.

And yet, we both still love and return to old standbys, like Legos and Play-Doh — or marketing strategies like advertising and loyalty programs.

But best of all are remixes of old and new, like Lego Boost, which combines traditional physical building with modern software building and coding tools. For marketers this year, it’s 1:1 marketing remixed with an always-on customer identity solution.

Identity-fueled 1:1 marketing will disrupt Holiday 2017 in three distinct ways:

  1. A laser focus on existing customers

Some brands seem to forget about their existing customers during the holidays, focusing instead on stealing shoppers from other brands. But disruptive marketers know that this is a critical time to keep nurturing their high-value and high-potential customers, who are more likely to buy than new shoppers are.

One brand who really gets this is women’s apparel retailer J.Jill. Seventy percent of its sales come from customers who’ve been shopping there for at least five years, and those customers spend nearly twice as much and shop 1.5 times more per year than a new customer. J.Jill’s focus on delivering a personalized omnichannel shopping experience has paid off handsomely, with Q1 2017 comparable sales up 10% year over year and adjusted net income up 50%.

To your loyal customers, you’re like an old standby toy: familiar, low-stress and enjoyable. And with a customer identity solution in place, you can accurately zero in on your top targets across both paid and owned media channels.

  1. Individualization of the customer experience

Just as children can get overwhelmed with too many new toys and too many sweets at the holidays, customers can be overwhelmed by too many irrelevant messages. You don’t want valuable customers tuning out your ads or unsubscribing to your emails, the way a boring toy gets tossed in the trash or given away. So how do you avoid that?

You know personalization works: It’s been a major factor in the success of brands like Amazon, Netflix and Best Buy. Individualization is the next generation of personalization, a shift from marketing to segments in favor of marketing to individuals. It requires knowing more about your customer than the last web page they viewed or their basic demographics. You have to understand an individual’s purchase history — not just what they like to buy, but when and why — and which channels they respond to best.

I know that sounds like a lot to do. But a customer identity solution will help you collect and apply that data across channels, across devices and across brands in your corporate portfolio.

More and more brands are jumping on the individualization opportunity, so it’s definitely going to be a disruptive force during Holiday 2017 shopping. Get your systems lined up now to individualize your customer marketing across as many touchpoints as possible… or risk being relegated to the Land of Forgotten Toys.

  1. Real-time, cross-channel response to customer intent signals

Instant gratification always beats delayed, and the holidays are no exception. And I do mean instant. Customers are moving faster than ever: for every second delay in a mobile page load, conversions can fall by 20%.

So when a customer signals their interest, the faster you can respond with helpful content and offers, the more likely you are to win the conversion. You don’t want to be that toy that catches the eye with a little glitter but then is quickly forgotten in the holiday hustle and bustle.

To convert interest to purchase, you must be able to recognize and target an interested shopper wherever they go: In paid media channels and across your own properties (website, apps, CRM, stores, etc.). An always-on customer identity solution dramatically improves your ability to recognize your customers across all channels and respond quickly to their intent signals.

Get disruptive this holiday season

Be prepared to apply your in-depth customer knowledge to zero in on your targets, zoom in on consumer preferences and stick with shoppers from interest to purchase. That gives you a significant advantage over competitors who can’t target as efficiently, as personally and as quickly. Don’t forget: the run-up to opening gifts may seem like forever to kids waiting for new toys. But the opportunity for brands to capture a sale flashes by in an instant.

Originally published August 22, 2017

Jonathan Petrino

Jonathan was the Director of Enterprise Consulting at Signal. Previously, he held key strategy, sales, and account management roles at Expedia, Responsys and Oracle. Additionally, he has managed marketing technology on the client-side, and is a Marine Corps veteran.

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